When I was going through the applications process, I heard a lot about Hopkins being the place where fun comes to die, a rumor JHU_Grace tackled eloquently here http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/grace/2013/03/is-hopkins-cutthroat. Now I’ll admit, reading period and Finals week aren’t exactly what I would call a lot of fun. While there’s something to be said for enjoying the process of learning, reviewing the Krebs cycle and doing more Hess’s Law problems than I care to admit isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. Throughout all the stress, and the far too frequent runs to Brody for coffee (on cup 8 today and still going strong) I have managed to find time to unwind, in particular with what was probably my favorite afternoon of the semester; the snowball fight this past Sunday.

Snowball fight, you must be asking yourself, does the Hopkins campus outside of D-Level even exist when you’re not cramming for Orgo, or writing a term paper? Well the answer is yes, contrary to popular belief it does. We Hopkins students do work hard, it’s true. But, we know how to play even harder and a good time can be had by all, finals week or not.

Sunday was the first snow of the year here in Baltimore. Coming from New York I was pretty used to some heavy snowfall, and while campus looked especially beautiful that day, I made nothing of it. A group of enterprising sophomores made an event on Facebook inviting all of Hopkins to a Snowball fight on the Beach. Needing a study break, a group of my friends and I decided to go check it out, we expected maybe twenty people or so to show up, we’d throw a few snowballs and get right back to studying. How wrong we were…

As we got down to the beach, much to our surprise, we saw almost 100 kids engaged in the largest snowball fight any of us had ever seen. Joining in quickly, we spent over an hour dodging, dipping, ducking, diving, and dodging snowballs left and right. Caught in an ambush we ended up sprinting for our lives back to the freshman quad and tackling each other in the snow. It had been an exciting, exhausting, fun afternoon. Not what an afternoon during finals week was supposed to entail.

Mid throw

Mid throw

 

More than just the fun of the snowball fight, more than just the delicious hot chocolate we had after, that Sunday afternoon was special because it defied convention. Hopkins (like a lot of places) is what you make of it. If you want to spend your life in the library, some find happiness in that and you can do that here. If you can go out every night and make that work, more power to you, a lot of people make that happen. For me, it’s been easy to find a happy medium. I’ve spent this semester starting that path of finding what I wanted my Hopkins experience to be, socially, intellectually, even spiritually. And that’s the beauty of Hopkins, you can spend a few hours reviewing gene expression, love every second of it, and go out participate in a snowball fight with your friends without missing a beat. I think a lot of places can make it difficult to find your own path, to balance the work and the social life, to find your niche. Hopkins I think is the exception.

My best friend Alex casually modeling in the midst of the chaos

My best friend Alex casually modeling in the midst of the chaos

Almost one year ago, like many of you will this week, I heard back from Hopkins about my ED application. I was as stressed and nervous as I’m sure many of you are now. When I got in, it was the best feeling in the world, not because I was going to a school that had the “ranking” Hopkins did, not because I could name drop the university I was attending and impress my girlfriend’s parents, but because I thought it was the place I would best find myself. I encourage you all to take a step back this week, finals or not, and go out and have your own snowball fights. All those hearing back this week, accepted, deferred or whatever, I encourage you all (whether at Hopkins or not) to go out and blaze your own paths, ultimately, that’s where you’ll find happiness.

Alex and my other great friend, Alex's roommate Olivia, post snowball craziness

Alex and my other great friend, Alex’s roommate Olivia, post snowball craziness